15 week 50 mile Training Plan

This is the plan I used to train for my first 50 mile race.

Let’s start with this. You won’t win any races using this training plan and if you’ve run a 50 mile race before, chances are you already have a decent plan that you’ve used before. However if this is your first time training for a 50 mile race, this plan will put you in a position to finish.

The basis for this training plan was a mixture of extrapolating prior 50k training plans I’ve made for myself, training plans I’ve found on the internet, and the working backwards from race day to fit my schedule. Even though it was my first 50 mile race, it was not my first race of the season (this was my 6th  event of the year), not my first ultra race (I have ran several 50k’s before this race) , and not even my first ultra race of the season (I have run one other 50k this year before this race), so I entered the training plan with a fairly decent base. If I were starting from scratch (or the couch) the plan likely would be extended, possibly even double the amount of weeks in order to get my base to a 10-16 mile run.

The training plan is based on total miles run (as opposed to time based) and my main goal was just to finish in the allotted time. There wasn’t a lot of elevation gain, only approximately 5,500 feet of vert) in the race I was targeting (Mt Hood 50). The goals and assumptions of this training plan were:

  • Long runs can be slow, but don’t break them up into two shorter runs.
  • It’s ok to walk/hike long runs as necessary. It’s even ok to stop for a short break, but not for hours on end.
  • Vary elevation gain for runs on consecutive days.
  • Run on trails when possible. Try to hit at least a portion of a trail on every run.
  • It’s ok to substitute cross training (soccer) for runs.
  • Alternate between hard weeks (higher mileage) and easy weeks (lower mileage).
  • Stay healthy. It’s ok to skip or shuffle training runs around each week. After all it is just a plan.
  • Back to back weekend long runs are a staple to this plan.
  • One weekday slightly shorter long run is a staple to this plan.
  • Planned rest days are the days immediately following back to backs (Mondays and Fridays).
  • Incorporate a few races as glorified training runs into the training plan for race day practice.

For the most part I hit all my weekly mileage goals, sometimes exceeding and sometimes falling short but never more or less off than 10% of the plan. I followed all of my goals and assumptions of the plan, but included far more vert in my runs than is probably needed for the target race. This, however, worked out just fine for me in that I ended up walking a decent amount during the race. Also none of the hills I encountered ever seemed too steep or too long compared the ones I tackled during training.

A few last things: Just to be clear, you aren’t going to win any race with this training plan. Remember a plan is just a plan and it should be broke, bent, altered, chopped and revised as required to avoid injury, fit around your life schedule, and most importantly to have fun.

TT50 - 15 Week 50m Training Plan


7 thoughts on “15 week 50 mile Training Plan

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Is there a base number of miles you should have prior to starting this? I currently run 20-25 a week


    1. Great question. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) there is no real concrete answer to your question. We all are an experiment of one and what works for me may not work for someone else. The terrain, the intensity, the amount of time you’ve been at your base mileage, and your body’s ability to adapt and recover are all factors affecting what will be an ‘adequate’ base number of miles to start from. For me, I spent 3 months steadily building my base up with increasing mileage and time before turning to this portion of the 50 mile plan. To more directly answer your question, my base was closer to 30-40 miles per week with roughly 2/3 of the miles being trail specific.


  2. Thanks, I’ve checked out several online and am going with yours. Might be helpful to have that embedded as a table (or something to copy) to make easy to copy to a spreadsheet. Absolutely zero complaints from me, thank you so much for the knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck with your training Chris! Would love to hear some updates as you train and a race recap when you finish! Which 50 miler did you sign up for?


  3. Thank you! I used your 50K training plan, with changing what I needed to make it fit for my race, but it worked great! I totally kicked butt and met my goals for the race. I’m going to use the 50mile one you have to attempt 50 miles eventually. American River 50 miler is on my radar.

    Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.